CICS Interview Questions - Mainframe CICS Technical Interview Question and Answers with explanation for various interviews, competitive examination and entrance test.
What is CICS?
CICS basically stands for Customer Information Control System and happens to be software that monitors telecommunications from IBM. The mainframe operating systems of IBM are time-sharing and batch.

What is the primary aspect of CICS?
CICS basically deals with the execution as well as development of online applications. It establishes a communication channel through the terminal and facilitates the receiving as well as sending of data that is formatted. One of the primary aspects of CICS is the accessibility of database as well as the files that they contain.

What is meant by PPT and what are its uses?
Program Processing Table – This basically consists of a list that has all the names of the programs in it along with maps. Furthermore, it tells us whether the version that is absolutely recent as available as a program in CICS or a fresh copy of the program is supposed to be loaded.

What is the difference between PCT and FCT?
PCT stands for Program Control Table and basically has a complete list of transaction identifiers that are paired to respective corresponding programs.
FCT stands for File Control Table and it has a complete list of all the files that have been used by CICS along with their status and record length.

What is CICS task?
A CICS task basically a one-time execution of a certain CICS transaction. This process starts when the key is entered into the transaction, and the enter key is pressed. The execution process continues till the program returns the control back to CICS.

What is the CICS LOAD command?
The LOAD command retrieves an object program from disk and loads it into main storage - it's primarily used for a constant table that will be available system-wide.

What is CEMT?
CEMT basically refers to Master Terminal Transaction. It happens to be an ID for system transaction and inquires about the status. Furthermore, it changes the status of the resources.

What is COMMAREA?
COMMAREA is commonly termed as a communication area as it happens to be for temporary storage area. This is basically used as a passing medium for data amongst multiple programs that are loaded by a set of transactions or a particular transaction.
What is ‘Transid’?
Transid basically stands for transaction identifier. In order to invoke a task of CICS, this character code consisting of four letters will be used.

What is the use of DCT?
Basically, DCTs stands for Destination Control Tables that are aesthetically used in CICS to define TDQs.

What is a mapset?
Mapset is a collection of maps which are linked edited together to form a load module. It should have a PPT entry. It can have names from 1 to 7 chars.

What are the attribute values of Skipper and Stopper fields?
For Skipper field, use ASKIP and for stopper field use PROT.

What is the function of the CICS translator?
The CICS translator converts the EXEC CICS commands into call statements for a specific programming language.

What is the function of the EXEC CICS HANDLE CONDITION command?
To specify the paragraph or program label to which the control is to be passed if the “handle condition” occurs.

What is the function of DFHMDF BMS macro?
The DFHMDF macro defines fields, literal, and characteristics of a field.

What is BMS?
BMS stands for Basic Map Support. It allows you to code assembler level programs to define screens.

How DSECT parameter is used in BMS?
DSECT parameter is basically used in BMS in order to give shape to a symbolic map.

What is AICA ABEND?
AICA ABEND is just a Runaway Task that is executed at a later stage.

How ENQ and DEQ used in CICS?
ENQ and DEQ are parts of task control commands that are used in making a resource serially recyclable.

What is the difference between SEND MAP DATAONLY and SEND MAP MAPONLY?
SEND MAP DATAONLY – Through this, the data is sent without the layout. It is used in order to refresh the data that comes to the screen.
SEND MAP MAPONLY – Through this, only the map is sent and not the data. Whenever we are in the process of sending menu screens, the data is never sent.

What is MDT?
MDT basically stands for Modified Data Tag. If the modification of the field has to be done on the screen, then MDT acts as a bit of an attribute byte. MDT basically comes into play during an input operation.

What is EIB?
EIB basically stands for Execute Interface Block. One EIB is attached to each and every task and this stays with the task till its execution. The EIB of all the programs remains unchanged throughout the process. In the read mode of any COBOL program, EIB fields can be accessed.

What is an attribute byte?
An attribute byte is basically used in CICS to define a particular transmission field or display. It basically contributes to the output field of the program.

What is multitasking and multithreading?
Multitasking is the feature supported by the operating system to execute more than one task simultaneously.
Multithreading is the system environment where the tasks are sharing the same programs load module under the multitasking environment. It is a subset of multitasking since it concerns tasks which use the same program.

What is the difference between pseudo-conversational and conversational?
Pseudo-conversational will start a new task for each input. By coding a CICS RETURN command specifying ‘TRANSID(itself).
Conversational will have an active task during the duration of the data entry.

What are the databases that CICS can access?
DB2, DL/I, ORACLE

What is the use of DCT?
DCT Stands for Destination Control Table. It is used to define TDQs.

What is the purpose of the Program List Table?
The Program List Table records the set of applications programs that will be executed automatically at CICS start-up time.

What is the primary function of the Sign-on Table?
Register security information of all programs.

What is DFHEIBLK?
DFHEIBLK is Execute Interface Block. It is placed in the linkage section automatically by CICS translator program. It must be the first entry in linkage section. CICS places values prior to giving control to the program and we can find almost any information about our transaction.

What is communication area?
An area used to transfer data between different programs or between subsequent executions of the same program. Needs to be defined in the Linkage Section.

What is the common systems area?
The common systems area is the major CICS control block that contains system information, including pointers to most other CICS control blocks.  The CSA points to all members of STATIC storage.
How to handle exceptional conditions in CICS?
An abnormal situation during execution of a CICS command is called an exceptional condition". There are various ways  to  handle  these  exception  conditions:
Handle Condition Command: It is used to transfer control to the procedure label specified if   the exceptional   condition specified occurs.
Ignore Condition Command: It causes no action to be taken if the condition specified occurs in the program. That is control will be returned to the next instruction following the command which encountered the exceptional condition.
No Handle Option: This option can be specified in any CICS command and it will cause no action to be taken for any exceptional condition occurring during xecution of this command.
RESP Option: This option can   be specified in any CICS command. If the RESP option is specified in a command, CICS places a response code at a completion of the command.  The application program can check this code, then proceed to the next processing.

What are the CICS commands available for program control?
The following commands are available for the Program Control services:
LINK: To pass control to another program at the lower level, expecting to be returned.
XCTL: To pass control to another program at the same level, not expecting to be returned.
RETURN: To return to the next higher-level program or CICS.
LOAD: To load a program.
RELEASE: To release a program.

What is the MASSINSERT option?
MASSINSERT is a WRITE option that modifies normal VSAM split processing, leaving free space after the inserted record, so subsequent records can be inserted without splits. It is ended by an UNLOCK command.

What is temporary storage?
Temporary storage is either main or auxiliary storage that allows the program to save data between task invocations.

What are the differences between Temporary Storage Queue (TSQ) and Transient Data Queue (TDQ)?
Temporary Storage Queqe (TSQ):
  • Records in Temporary Storage can be read more than once.
  • Records in TSQ can be read randomly.
  • You may update an existing item in a TSQ.
  • TSQ names are dynamically defined in the application program.
  • TSQ cannot be accessed in batch.
  • TSQ cannot started automatically a CICS transaction.
Transient Data Queqe (TDQ):
  • Temporary Data Queues can be read only once.
  • Records in TDQ can be read only sequentially.
  • A record in a TDQ cannot be updated.
  • TDQs name must first be defined in the DCT (Destination Control Table).
  • TDQ may be used by batch application.
  • TDQ can started automatically a CICS transaction.
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